Greetings,
on the Feast of St. Nicholas!
  

 

Blessings to you!

Today is St. Nicolas Day. The day we celebrate St. Nicolas, aka Santa Claus. We all have an image of "St Nicolas" i.e. "Santa Claus," typically round and rosy-cheeked and loaded down with gifts for children. It is a pleasant enough image. The problem is that it is an image created by writers and artists. It is an image that...while pleasant...is not exactly an image of who St. Nicolas was.

What's wrong with that? Maybe it is not "wrong," but to me it is sad that the most wonderful characteristics of St. Nicolas are lost in the commercial image. The essence of who he was and what he was about. St Nicolas was a real man; a bishop who lived in Lycia sometime in the 300's A.D., and is the patron saint of sailors. He was a bishop, and not a "jolly old elf."

Nicolas was born to a wealthy family and orphaned at an early age. He spent his large inheritance in helping the needy. There are many stories about St. Nicolas' compassion, generosity and miracles to those in need. Are they all true? Maybe, maybe not, but as my Bible teacher from ministerial school would say, the sheer amount of stories and their repetition indicate SOMETHING HAPPENED.

The greatest slander of St. Nicolas is in the saddest time of all...when we tell our children that there is no Santa Claus. How traumatic is that? At that moment, all of the reality of St Nicolas; Santa Claus is discarded as just another fairy tale!

But there IS a Santa Claus. There IS. He LIVES. The Spirit of St. Nicolas, as our very own spirit, is eternal. But rather than a fairytale supplier or toys, a make-believe "elf" who lives at the North Pole and drives a sleigh pulled by reindeer, the Spirit of St. Nicolas is a true Spirit of Christmas. Have you not felt his presence? Have you not felt the joy of giving...especially giving to those in need? The inspiration to love and forgive and to trust that the great Giver of All Gifts...God...will provide for your every need? Have you not felt the stirring of God's love for us when you gaze at a creche?

Today, I invite you to honor St. Nicolas in a way that would warm his heart. When we love someone, and respect and appreciate what they have done, the best way to honor that person is share the story of their life and to do the things that they did that we admire. Accept the reality of his life and his presence in the midst of the Christmas season.

If you have children who you are about to tell that there is no Santa Claus, consider introducing them to the real Santa Claus instead. If you have older children who you previously told there is no Santa Claus, you can introduce them to the REAL St Nicolas!

And so today...we truly say Thank God...there IS a Santa Claus!

Today may you feel the presence of St. Nicolas.

RevAli